Get Out There!
As I write this, the temperature outside my window is colder than the temperature inside my freezer. With half the North American continent locked in a “polar vortex” and complaining vociferously about it, it may seem absurd to extoll the virtues of winter activities. As a child of winter, however, (born in late December) I am bound by some unwritten, unsigned contract to love this season and sell it! Below are five very good reasons to love winter and spend some time outdoors.
1. Catch a Sunrise: During the summer months, the sun rises between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. while many of us are still snoozing. In the winter, when the sun perks up around 7:00 a.m., you are much more likely to experience a beautiful sunrise on your way to work. Winter sunrises are especially clear and brilliant given the lack of foliage on the trees and the added glint of shimmery ice and snow. Pack your camera!
2. Dodge a Virus: Viruses love to congregate and multiply in warm places and it’s no coincidence that instances of viral infections increase during the winter months when we seal ourselves inside with close proximity to other human beings – and their germs. Venturing outdoors regularly is a smart move.
3. Perk Yourself Up: Instances of depression increase during the winter months. Low light levels and a general decline in physical activity can lead to the winter doldrums. These blue moods can often be remedied by brisk outdoor walks. Studies have shown that people who do winter activities outdoors see an increase in self-esteem, higher levels of vitality and a decrease in physical tension and depression.
4. Get your Vitamin D: Your vitamin D production plunges during the winter months when the days are shorter. According to a Norwegian study, a fair-skinned person needs only five minutes of sun exposure in July to attain a healthy daily dose of vitamin D. In January that time increases to well over an hour.
5. Burn Calories: An average woman can burn over 450 calories during an hour of cross-country skiing and more than 510 calories during an hour of ice-skating. Find an outdoor winter activity you love doing and commit to doing it at least once a week. You will get a workout and have fun at the same time.
Remember, always dess appropriately during the winter to avoid frost bite, hypothermia or a dangerous slip. Wear proper outerwear and footwear at all times. Also remember to make the most of this special season and experience its natural beauty!
Share YOUR favorite winter outdoor activities in the comments section below!